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Five Year Plan: The Future of Boise State Football

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NCAA Football: UNLV at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Boise State finds itself in something of a lull, albeit by their very high standards. Most schools would kill to average 10 wins a season over the last 5 years. While that's still very good, probably all the players and coaches would agree that it's not the standard they expect from themselves; particularly in the area of conference championships. It's been a few years now since that last, full, perfect season (2009, and 2006 being the most recent), and the 50-3 run by Kellen Moore and company is now firmly in the rearview. Coach Petersen has moved on and found success in his new gig after an 8-5 ‘down’ year in his final season at Boise State. Coach Harsin came in with a bang, guiding the 2014 team to 12 wins and a Fiesta Bowl victory, but continuity of coaching staff has made it difficult to maintain that level of success since. However, it seems eminently possible that there could be at least a mini-run soon that will bring back memories of that 2008-11 dominance. With enhanced recruiting, those memories could actually even turn into new realities.

Barring something catastrophic, the next five years for Boise State will likely not include a head coaching change, despite some fringe elements of the fanbase already believing it's the right call. In fact, accounting for the novelty of a mostly-intact core coaching group, it seems entirely plausible that with a QB now twice named to the all-conference team, and an influx of extraordinarily gifted wide receivers, that the Broncos could be positioned for a dominant season in 2018. Disclaimer: It is always possible that Boise State pulls out an impressive season at ANY time, maybe even as soon as this year. Some of the best campaigns in recent memory came on the heels of years much like 2016. However, there’s enough question marks heading into this season that it's just not stable enough to predict something like that. 2018 provides a bit more in the way of a solid basis to make bold claims. With a nucleus of young but gifted defenders being far more seasoned by then, the aforementioned talent incoming in the form of Rypien targets, and presumably the 3rd year of OC Zak Hill calling plays, the board is set for a potential NY6/dark horse playoff contender kind of season. At the very least, expect both seasons to end having beaten all triple option teams played.

Further out from the prediction of at least one season of resurgent dominance, Jake Constantine will (presumably) take over the reigns of the Bronco offense as a junior, following the departure of a decorated, and likely NFL-bound Brett Rypien. In 2019, Constantine will have at his disposal the same playmakers that makes 2018 seem so ripe for success. In Chase Cord, Boise State has also already secured a commitment for a quarterback with very high potential to succeed Constantine, or possibly challenge him directly to take over after Rypien leaves. In addition, it’s possible that if the next great Boise State running back isn't already committed to the team, that the recent drafting of three BSU running back alums--two having already earned Pro Bowl nods--will have attracted him by then.

No matter what happens with the offense, the next few years should be great on defense, and could see the linebackers rocket to particularly unique prominence. The departure of two exceptional players in Weaver and Vallejo is not nearly as concerning as it could have been. The position is looking exceptionally strong with players already on the roster, but there is an incoming group of freshmen that has the potential for multiple all-conference slots, and maybe even a few more NFL picks. It's because of this and the now multiple years of experience scheming against the triple option that it should finally become far less nerve-wracking to play New Mexico and Air Force. Defensive coordinator, Andy Avalos, already seems to have cracked the code on that. They manhandled UNM, and remember it was the OFFENSE that struggled to put that game away in Colorado Springs in 2016. If the incoming classes of larger and more athletic linebackers can be as disciplined as this year's group, it should neutralize the triple option effectively for the next few years. The strength of that position group should also translate to effective suppression of the short passing games and rushing attacks of other conference foes. Success there only makes it easier to attract additional impressive talent, and continue ascending. Not all cycles are vicious.

There are no present plans to make significant changes to the stadium or to adopt any new, schematic systems. Certainly no plans exist to adopt any iteration of that triple option-y nonsense that can only be described as an advent of the devil.

The recent changes with ESPN and its nosedive could prove interesting for the future of how games are broadcast. Aside from that, with as solid as recruiting has been, and with what should be moderately steady coaching continuity (with coordinators anyway), expect the Broncos to return to regular rankings in the Top 25, win 3 conference championships, and play in at least one more NY6 bowl game. Maybe even challenge for a playoff spot if the national spotlight can be recaptured alongside a hot start in any of those seasons. Which would be, you know...kind of a big deal.

That's the five year plan though. Let's do this.

GO BRONCOS!